MEET THE STAFF
Jay E. Darr, Ph.D., NCC, LPC, BC-TMH, PMP, pronouns: he, him, his, is humbled by the opportunity to serve as the Director of the University Counseling Center. Dr. Darr earned his doctorate in Executive Counseling Education and Supervision, with a specialization in Crisis Intervention and Management and M.S. Ed in School Counseling from Duquesne University. His undergraduate and initial graduate work in Sociology, with an Applied Social Research focus was completed at West Virginia University. Dr. Darr’s passion is to assist students with becoming aware of their strengths, with the goal of using this awareness as a tool to find healthy solutions to life challenges. Dr. Darr’s professional interests include crisis intervention and management, identity development, sports counseling/psychology, Veteran concerns, stress reduction, racial/transgenerational trauma, supervision and training, addictive and substance concerns. He enjoys spending time with his family, participating in outdoor activities, and is an avid Marvel Universe and sports fan.
Ahmed Ghuman is a licensed Staff Psychologist who earned a PsyD in clinical psychology from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He also holds an MBA in general business administration from La Salle University. In his clinical work, Ahmed utilizes an integrative approach of humanistic and cognitive behavioral therapy. Additionally, he specializes in positive psychology and uses a strengths-based approach rooted in positive psychotherapy with his clients. His areas of interest include self-esteem, happiness, motivation, resilience, meaning and purpose, religious and spiritual identity, and multicultural concerns. In his free time, Ahmed loves to read, workout, watch movies, and spend time with his family. He is an avid sports fan and loves his Philly teams, especially the Eagles… Fly Eagles Fly!
Bobbi Jo is a Licensed Professional Counselor who graduated with a Master’s of Arts in Community Counseling from Slippery Rock University and has over 15 years of experience working with children, adolescents, college students and adults in substance use treatment, mental health treatment and crisis management. Bobbi Jo’s areas of clinical interest are substance use, eating disorders, trauma, suicidal thoughts, crisis stabilization, utilizing physical activity with counseling techniques, and resiliency building. Bobbi Jo describes herself as an integrative therapist, being able to meet students where they are at utilizing a variety of counseling approaches. Bobbi Jo is an avid runner and spends her free time training for marathons.
Sean earned his psychology degree in New York City and is a licensed psychologist. He has practiced in college mental health for over a decade, and enjoys working with undergraduate and graduate students, as he enjoys helping people navigate a time period when many new experiences occur including identity exploration. Sean is a generalist clinician with the following areas of interest: working with students from underrepresented groups; as well as students experiencing grief and loss. His approach to counseling is student-centered, solution-focused, strengths- based, and involves acceptance and commitment. When outside of the University Counseling Center, Sean enjoys seeing live music, volunteering time with helping animals, and trying new vegan food.
Bernadette is a licensed professional counselor with nearly 10 years of experience in a variety of mental health settings. She enjoys working with students individually and in therapy groups with a variety of concerns, including anxiety, depression, self-esteem, interpersonal relationships, and substance use. Bernadette strives to create a safe and collaborative relationship with students, allowing them to increase self-awareness, find effective solutions and build fulfilling lives. In her free time, Bernadette enjoys dancing, watching football and spending time with loved ones.
Ashlee received her BA in Psychology from Hiram College. She earned an MA in Mental Health Counseling from Bowling Green State University and a PsyD in Counseling Psychology from Carlow University. She completed her doctoral internship at The Ohio State University and her postdoctoral fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University. Ashlee’s professional interests include working with survivors of sexual violence and trauma, concerns that disproportionately affect women, identity development and self-esteem, relationship and family of origin concerns, and the unique experiences of first-generation college students and students from low-income and economically marginalized backgrounds. Ashlee’s style of therapy is integrative and client-centered, including elements of interpersonal process, psychodynamic, and cognitive-behavioral theories within a sociocultural and feminist framework. Ashlee especially enjoys the privilege of helping college students navigate major life transitions and understand the impact of their intersecting identities and lived experiences.
Cyndi has worked at Pitt for over 40 years in various office and business management roles within the Division of Student Affairs. She continues to enjoy the “behind the scenes” work in her current position at the Wellness Center. Outside of work, Cyndi enjoys traveling, long weekends at camp, quiet time in her backyard and spending quality time with family and friends.
Carol has worked at Pitt for 9 years and is grateful for the many opportunities she had along the way. Carol enjoys working in a university setting and having daily contact with students.
As a homegrown Pittsburgher, Nikki feels a close connection to Pitt’s campus, students and the city itself. As your first point of contact at the UCC, Nikki enjoys helping students connect with the resources and services they need. Nikki is a lover of dancing, coffee and all things glitter!
Bio coming soon!
Heather received her Bachelor in Psychology degree and Masters of Social Work degree from the University of Pittsburgh. Her clinical areas of interest are interpersonal relationships; grief and loss; anxiety; depression. Grounded in social work theory, Heather begins by meeting each client where they are currently at and identifying strengths and the barriers that may prevent goal attainment. She barrows from various evidence-based theories and strives to assist clients in finding solutions that help them live their very best lives. She enjoys working with college-aged clients due to their openness to change and willingness to invest in learning more about themselves.
Bio coming soon!
Cassie received her Doctoral degree from Oklahoma State University and is a licensed Psychologist. Her training is as a generalist therefore is skilled at the treatment of all concerns facing Pitt students and her areas of interest include Anxiety, Disordered Eating, Couples/Relationship Therapy, Autism and Group Therapy. Her approach to therapy is Integrative and tailored to the specific needs of each client. She enjoys outdoor activities and trying new things in her free time.
Bio coming soon!
Rayna attended the University of Pittsburgh for both her undergraduate and graduate degrees and loves providing individual therapy, as well as group therapy, to Pitt students. Her areas of interest include working with students who have relationship or interpersonal concerns, are looking to work through a traumatic experience, or are interested in personal growth and development. As a therapist, she believes in providing a warm, caring and non-judgmental space where her clients can feel heard, supported, valued and understood. She loves working with college students because of their curiosity, insight and willingness to learn about themselves and the world around them.
Jay is a licensed psychologist who completed his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of North Texas and he completed his Ph.D. in Sport and Exercise Science with an area of emphasis in Social Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity from the University of Northern Colorado. His clinical interests include sport and performance psychology, depression, anxiety, interpersonal relationships, men’s issues, grief/loss, life transitions, career/academic concerns, mindfulness, and stress management. Jay’s approach to therapy is integrative, with an approach focusing on creating a safe, collaborative, and supportive setting and incorporating humanistic, emotion-focused, interpersonal, and cognitive-behavioral techniques. In his free time, Jay enjoys exercising, traveling and exploring Pittsburgh.
Lori is a proud Pitt alum who earned both her Bachelor in Psychology and Master of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. Lori’s clinical interests include LGBTQIA+, anxiety, depression, transitions and interpersonal. Lori has a wide range of theoretical approaches, including CBT, DBT, Motivational Interviewing and compassion-focused. College is an exciting and stressful time, full of growth, changes and transition; Lori finds it rewarding to help individuals realize their potential and navigate the stressors of this stage of life.
Kaitlyn graduated with a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University and is a licensed professional counselor and licensed behavior specialist. She has experience working with children, families, and students. Kaitlyn enjoys working with students with behavioral concerns and people who are survivors of sexual violence. Kaitlyn practices counseling with a person centered, trauma informed, cognitive behavioral approach. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family.
Bio coming soon!
Camille graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Clinical Psychology doctoral program in 2017, where their research focused on diversity in sexual practice and outreach program development. Their approach to therapy is collaborative and affirming, and is influenced strongly by the tenets of intersectional feminism and social justice. Camille especially loves working with students around issues of gender, sexuality, and race; relationship concerns; and navigating life with other marginalized identities. Camille is a slow fashion/sewing enthusiast and might love grocery shopping even more than she likes cooking.
Bio coming soon!
Kelli studied psychology and counselor education at Duquesne University. Kelli operates from an integrative lens in therapy, combining elements from cognitive and humanistic theories on change. Kelli enjoys working with college students for their contagious energy and curiosity about their world as they further develop their identity. She is an avid green thumb, lover of good food, Labrador retrievers, audiobooks and the Steel City.
Cassandra received her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, with a concentration in mental health, from the University of Pittsburgh. She is interested in working with students who are experiencing interpersonal or relationship concerns, difficulty with transitioning, anxiety, depression and managing themselves among all the opportunities and distractions. Cassandra finds university students to be incredibly energetic and enthusiastic, and she is continually impressed with their accomplishments and their success in developing new abilities, as well as their capacity to embrace and adapt to new situations. She wants to encourage students to enable their passion and ingenuity while helping them make decisions about their future.
As a University of Pittsburgh alum and Licensed Professional Counselor, I am excited and honored to work with the students on campus and help them continue to grow to their fullest potential. I enjoy helping others build lasting and meaningful relationships with themselves and others to create fulfilling and purposeful lives. I was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area and am a die-hard Black and Gold fan, proud supporter of Yinzer nation and the “412,” and an avid sports enthusiast.
Mihnea joined the counseling center in 2014, initially as an intern. He received his Master’s in Social Work (MSW), with a concentration in mental health, from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. His earlier education includes an MA in Cultural Anthropology, from the University of Pittsburgh, and a BA with a major in Sociology, from the University of Bucharest. Mihnea strongly believes in the inherent and unconditional worthiness of all human beings and his approach to therapy is informed by humanistic, strength-based, multicultural, and feminist perspectives. Mihnea’s top values are compassion, justice, authenticity, and integrity. He enjoys engaging in mindfulness practice and contemplation, loves being in nature or socializing, and strives to bring about changes in his immediate environment. He especially appreciates the curiosity, openness to new experiences and perspectives, and the search for meaning of university students.
Michele received a Master’s in Social Work with a focus in Women’s Studies from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Women’s Studies from Ohio University. She holds clinical licensure in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. She has worked in community mental health, including domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers, since the late 90’s. Her clinical work concentrates on offering person-centered, humanistic trauma-informed care. Michele can offer varying therapeutic techniques and methods, but believes the critical place of change comes from the relationship itself. In her spare time, Michele enjoys walking/hiking with her rescue pup and reading.
Bio coming soon!
Nick graduated with a Master of Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California. His passion for using the practice of therapy to help others has been fulfilled through work in rehabilitation centers, hospitals, and schools. His areas of interest include emerging and young adulthood, grief and loss, addiction and recovery, and relationship issues. Nick seeks to understand the unique experience of each individual through exploring concepts such as responsibility, values, and meaning. In his spare time, Nick enjoys playing hockey.
Bio coming soon!
Bio coming soon!
Leland is in the final year of the clinical psychology PhD program at Duquesne University. He is finishing his dissertation research on the transformative effects of challenging psychedelic experiences. Leland integrates therapeutic methods that use the intuitive felt sense of the body to help clients learn to communicate with parts of themselves that have a need to be seen, understood and ultimately cared for by the client themselves. He enjoys working with college students who have a keen desire to discover themselves and their life’s purpose, as well as the courage to risk vulnerability in relationships. When Leland is not wearing his professional hat, he is either getting silly with his two young children, crafting, or wandering in wild places.
Michael Hakala is beginning his second year of doctoral training in Chatham University’s PsyD program. Michael earned his MA in Psychology at Chatham University in the summer of 2019. His areas of interest include resilience, trauma, motivations, nature’s influence on mood and attention, environmental psychology, our various identities, social psychology, family systems, and working through life transitions and events. Michael uses an integrative, strength-based approach of humanistic, cognitive behavioral, and family systems in psychotherapy. In his free time, Michael loves to be outdoors. He is an avid mountain biker. When not riding his bike, he loves going on hikes with his dog and exploring various national and state parks.
Amanda Holmes is currently working toward achieving a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Duquesne University. She has worked in out-patient and in-patient settings after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with her BS in Psychology. Her passions in Counseling include complex trauma, grief and bereavement, identity development, anxiety, depression, and family systems. Amanda utilizes an integrative strengths-based approach of Humanistic, Cognitive Behavioral, and Multicultural psychotherapies to help clients achieve positive outcomes. In her spare time, she enjoys trying out new recipes to bake, hiking in various National Parks, and exploring new music.
Geoffrey Keller is a Doctoral Student studying Counseling Psychology in the PsyD Program at Carlow University. He has a passion for teaching and works as an adjunct professor teaching undergraduates and masters level students at Carlow. Professionally, Geoffrey’s interests include evolutionary psychology, positive psychology, as well as psychodynamic & multicultural psychotherapy. In his clinical work, Geoffrey utilizes an integrative approach of relational psychoanalysis and positive psychology. Geoffrey is an enthusiastic outdoorsman and enjoys activities like rock climbing, wind surfing, hiking & camping. In his free time, Geoffrey is an avid reader, but you might also catch him listening to podcasts, playing chess with friends, watching Steelers games, or perusing Netflix and other streaming platforms for quality programming.
Samantha is a fourth-year doctoral student of counseling psychology at Chatham University whose experience has included university mental health and career counseling, a partial hospitalization program and neurocognitive testing. She is interested in multiculturalism, acute and complex trauma, emerging adulthood and identity development, gender identity, major life transitions, anxiety, depression, healthy relationships and sexual health. Samantha utilizes a humanistic and strengths-based approach to therapy, but works with a variety of approaches to achieve therapeutic goals. She currently enjoys spending time with her family, listening to music and gardening in her not-so-spare time.
Taylor is a third-year doctoral student of counseling psychology at Carlow University. Taylor received her BS in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. She earned her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has worked in community mental health and substance/alcohol use treatment settings. Taylor’s professional interest include working with trauma survivors, depression, anxiety, and substance/alcohol use. Taylor’s style of therapy is integrative, client-centered, and strengths-based, including elements from psychodynamic, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and solution-focused therapy. When outside of the counseling center, Taylor enjoys exercise, DIY projects and spending time with family.
Bernadette ("Bernie") has a BA in English Literature from Bellarmine University, a JD (law) from the University of Louisville, an MA in clinical psychology from the University of Dayton, and is currently completing her PsyD in clinical psychology from the Wright State University School of Professional Psychology. As a first-generation college student, Bernie enjoys working with students who are the first in their family to attend college or who are navigating other issues of identity. She has experience with students who are exploring issues of identity such as sexual orientation, gender, religion, political beliefs, and the intersection of these variables. Bernie's work is informed by Gestalt, feminist, multicultural, and humanistic theory. She also has experience in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and other CBT approaches. In her free time, Bernie enjoys watching things grow, including her houseplants, dogs, and young son. She also loves thrift stores, estate sales, and refinishing old furniture.
Anna has a BS in Psychology and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and is a second-year student in the MSW program. Anna’s approach to therapy is rooted in frameworks of disability justice, harm reduction, transformative justice, intersectional feminism, and collective care. They enjoy working with students on topics surrounding gender identity, sexuality, trauma, disability and navigating the world with a marginalized identity. In their free time, Anna enjoys playing bass, drawing comics, skateboarding and playing Breath of the Wild.
David is a fifth-year doctoral student of counseling psychology at Carlow University. He has worked in a variety of settings with university student populations. His areas of interest include creativity, identity, spirituality, and relationships. David has an integrative approach that includes relational, multicultural, and psychodynamic perspectives as well as positive psychology, mindfulness, and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT). David enjoys working with university students because learning environments give an excellent opportunity for reflecting and interpersonal growth. In his spare time David enjoys reading both fiction and non-fiction, meditating, exploring new music, and independent cinema.
Maria has a BS in Psychology and Early Childhood Education from Springfield College. Maria is currently a second-year graduate student from Duquesne University working on getting her master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She is interested in working with clients that come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences so that Maria may be able to grow and better her understanding of other people’s worldviews that may differ from her own. Maria currently specialized in: Anxiety, Depression, Interpersonal Relationships, interpersonal concerns, Stress, and self-care. When working with clients, she tends to use a holistic approach. Maria strives to use therapeutic techniques and interventions that are strength based and person centered in order to help her clients reach their goals. When Maria isn’t working with clients or teaching in her preschool classroom, she is relaxing at home, watching tv, cooking with her partner, and calling her family back home in Massachusetts.
Tricia earned her master’s degrees in the areas of counseling and psychological services from the University of Pennsylvania and has significant working experience. She is currently a fifth-year doctoral trainee in clinical psychology at Duquesne University. Her areas of clinical interest include interpersonal relationships, mood difficulties, trauma, LGBTQ+ experiences, identity, and group therapy. Tricia’s work as a psychotherapist is integrative and informed by psychodynamic, relational, and feminist approaches. She encourages a culturally-sensitive environment that is welcoming and non-threatening, and “meets the client where they are” by allowing each individual to work at a pace and in a style that is their most comfortable. This sometimes means being more exploratory and open-ended, and sometimes it means a more solution-oriented, interactive style. In her free time, Tricia enjoys every moment with Pepper her Shih-tzu, cooking, and finance. Tricia can speak Chinese.